2021 Music Resurrections: Blue Banisters

Lana Del Rey – Blue Banisters

Since I left things a little open-ended with my short review of Chemtrails Over The Country Club, I feel compelled to at least offer some thoughts on her second album of this year that often felt like a Lana Del Rey song. Blue Banisters also feels like another important chapter in 2021’s saga of Jack Antonoff’s falling from favor as pop’s most reliable producer. As I emphasized in that piece as well as my Solar Power review, I still believe that Antonoff should only be employed by any singer for one album, and then the artist should move on. Blue Banisters proves this theory somewhat, as I’d say that it’s a slightly better album than Chemtrails (though it is a little long) even if the reasons for this mostly have to do with LDR’s songwriting. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: 30

Adele – 30

In a simpler time, back in December 2019, I chose to look back on the 2010s by going in-depth on Adele’s 21, the best-selling album of the previous decade. It was not my introduction to Adele, since obviously she’s been one of the more iconic singers of the 21st century. However, it was my introduction to listening to an entire album’s worth of her songs, and it became pretty clear to me why her albums (and 21 in particular) have been such gigantic sellers in an era when “big event albums” only come around once in a blue moon. Not only does Adele’s music appeal to a pretty diverse age bracket of listeners, but her songs are good! Sure, they may be a little on the melodramatic side, but really no one does drama better and 30 is another testament to that, as much like 21 it sees Adele channeling her real-life heartbreak into another triumph. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: Valentine

Snail Mail – Valentine

When Lindsey Jordan released her first album as Snail Mail three years ago, I found myself enjoying a few stand-out tracks while also being a little skeptical that she was the real deal. Though her knack for beleaguered songwriting mixed with a trace of ’90s slackerdom was easy to put on and listen to, there wasn’t a whole lot separating it from other talented singer-songwriters coming up in the indie rock game who weren’t getting quite as much notice. “Valentine”, her new album’s latest single, kinda eradicated that for me. The track shows a whole range of emotions, going from moody and reserved to boisterous and catchy, and the album it kicks off is similarly nuanced, even if it was a little ridiculous to release an album called Valentine in November. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: I Don’t Live Here Anymore

The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

It’s hard to know what to say about The War on Drugs at this point. Not only have they been one of the more ubiquitous bands in indie rock for the past decade, but most of their albums have been covered to some extent on this blog. Their signature sound, a potent mix of synthy soundscapes and thrillingly unchained guitar rock (trying really hard to avoid the term “heartland rock” here) feels both like it’s been somewhat influential but also hard to completely replicate. Maybe this is due to the dual amount of sonic precision and ambition that’s put into each album, while it feels as if Adam Granducial is putting as much of his emotional state into a War on Drugs album as he is his musical talents. Which would explain why we always have to wait 3 or 4 years for a new WOD album, which never feels that long considering each album has enough little nuggets of complexity to keep you relistening until the next one. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

When I wrote some brief thoughts on Little Simz’s last album, two things I found striking about it was how nimble the rhymes were and how concise it was overall. This makes the UK rapper’s latest outing all the more impressive, since instead of playing to those same strengths, she’s gone in the complete other direction. Though the rhymes are still very strong this time around, they’re a lot more introspective (as the album’s title would indicate) while also meditating on all of the world’s ills, which just feel like they’re compounding year after year. Conversely, the album’s production is far more epic in scope, as is the running time, which runs about twice the length as Grey Area. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: In These Silent Days

Brandi Carlile – In These Silent Days

There really was no reason for me to sit on Brandi Carlile for so long. I had certainly known of her for a while, considering she’s been one of the Seattle area’s most beloved musical exports for the last decade or so. She’s even a frequent supporter of my favorite record store, while being the clear heir apparent to Neko Case, the Northwest’s other alt-country sort-of-superstar. But I suppose the alt-country space is a weird one to be in, as it’s an uphill battle trying to gain the more ardent country fans as well as those indie rock fans who will only occasionally listen to something with some twang in it. Yet somehow Carlile has managed to do both while racking up a slew of Grammys. Continue reading

2021 Music Resurrections: Star-Crossed

Kacey Musgraves – Star-Crossed

I’m still a fan of this album, but I feel like its moment came and went pretty quickly. Some of that may be due to the fact that Star-Crossed is decidedly one big bummer of an album, though I would argue it’s far more bittersweet than straight-up depressing. Also, the album kinda confirms that Kacey Musgraves has gotten to a level of cross-over success that few country singers get to, but she’s not Taylor Swift. She’s not using her cache as a singer-songwriter to invade the pop world with bangers that abandon the nuance and wit of her earlier work. Instead, she’s decided to use her strengths to use music as therapy to deconstruct the romance that led to her greatest achievement. Continue reading